Quick-strike Block lifts Grafton past Port

By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Stealth scoring from long range at the start of each half helped the Grafton girls’ soccer team top rival Port on the road in Preakness Stakes-like conditions on Monday.

Black Hawks’ star Hailey Block scored 91 seconds into the game on an assist from Malaya Sperber and scored twice unassisted in the first three minutes of the second half to key a 4-1 win.

“Hailey was definitely on fire,” Grafton coach Don Arnold said.

The host Pirates hung tough early, evening the game at 1-1 in the 10th minute on a “solid goal” from Claire Holtebeck with an assist from Payton Hurley, Port coach Eric Liebergen said. Holtebeck had narrowly missed on a shot earlier in the game.

“I thought we showed poise in getting an equalizer after giving up such an early goal,” Liebergen said.

After Block made it 3-1 early in the second half, she assisted Sperber in the 79th minute for the final tally.

All of Grafton’s goals came from outside the 18-yard box.

“Our distance shots were really nice,” Arnold said.

Liebergen said his team didn’t recognize the tenacity Grafton brought.

“We got bit early in both halves by not putting pressure on the ball soon enough.  Grafton also capitalized on their free kicks, and that was the difference,” he said.

Liebergen praised the play of Megan Barian, Hurley and Natalie Lippe, who saved two balls on the goal line when the Pirates’ keeper came out to cut down angles.

Last week, the Hawks went 2-1 in three matches and could have won all three.

The Hawks won, 3-0, at Hartford on May 15, behind goals from Halena Gehrke, Claire Kosidowski and Block. Gretchen Geiser and Isabella Rapp had assists.

Arnold credited the defensive play of Jaden Autey, Mackenzie Schultz, Cora Danielson, Abi Gutknecht, Brianna Rapp and Ava Pederson.

“We’re pretty strong in the back. We have six players who can play 90 minutes if need be,” he said.

On May 17, the Hawks scored a 2-0 win over host Brookfield East in what Arnold called one of their best games of the season.

Sperber scored in the second half on an assist from Kosidowski, and Laura Stockhausen added a goal with assists from Rapp and Gutknecht.

“We did a nice job of controlling the game, attacking on the wings, which opened up the middle,” Arnold said.

Grafton couldn’t quite complete a comeback in a 3-2 loss at Muskego last Saturday.

“I told the girls this is the best I’ve ever felt being down, 2-0, at half. They were confident. They had that look in their eye,” Arnold said.

Brianna Rapp and Block scored second-half goals. Stockhausen had an assist.

“We easily could have come away with a victory. We outshot them, dominated play for the most part,” Arnold said.

“I like the way we played. Pressed them to the final and nearly got the equalizer.”

Grafton (7-1 in the North Shore Conference and 9-5 overall) finishes the regular season at West Bend East this Friday.

The Hawks received a No. 2 seed in the WIAA Division 2 playoffs. They play the Milwaukee School of Languages on Thursday, May 31, at Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon.Port won all three of its games last week.

On May 15, the Pirates blanked West Bend East on the road, 4-0.

Holtebeck, Lyndie Krueger, Barian and Tess Schueller each scored a first-half goal. Ella Schmitt had two assists, and Barian had one.

On May 17, the Pirates won, 3-1, at West Bend West.

Barian, Krueger and Schueller all scored.

“I’m not sure which goal was the most spectacular. They all were smart opportunities and well struck,” Liebergen said.

West scored late after Liebergen told goalie Kaytlin Kassens to come out and help a teammate.

“I told Kaytlin that one was on me,” he said.

Last Saturday, Port posted a 3-0 win over Waukesha South on Senior Day.

Barian scored on an assist from Schueller in the 25th minute.

“She tucked the ball low and it was a nice finish. The whole play started when Tess was able to play herself out of a tight space and draw the defense to her, leaving Megan open in the box,” Liebergen said.

Barian scored in the 51st minute on a header with an assist from Madelyn Wehner. Hurley scored in the 65th minute from Schueller.

“Our offensive connections have been really good lately. The runs that we made and the passes we shared were well-timed,” Liebergen said.

The Pirates (5-3-1 in the NSC and 10-3-4 overall) play at Waukesha North on Thursday.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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